Kansas staves off Missouri women's basketball

The Tigers rallied to tie the game twice in the second half.
Missouri guard RaeShara Brown fights to keep the ball in the Tigers' possession as forward Shakara Jones helps fend off Kansas guard Sade Morris and Kansas forward Carolyn Davis Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Missouri lost after missing a field goal in the final seconds that would have tied the game.

The Tigers lost another close game to Kansas, this time falling 61-59 on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Although Missouri fought back to tie the game twice, its rally fell just short at the end of the game.

The Jayhawks committed 22 turnovers, but the Tigers were unable to take advantage of Kansas' mistakes. Senior forward Jessra Johnson led the team with 16 points, and junior guard RaeShara Brown had 12 points.

"I think our kids read shots well, and our pursuit of the ball is really good," coach Cindy Stein said. "We have to just keep working harder. It feels better to have games where we have chances than in games where we have no chance."

The Tigers opened the first half shooting only 32.1 percent (11-of-25) from the field and only made 1-of-9 attempted 3-pointers. At the beginning of the game, the Tigers and Jayhawks traded baskets until Kansas went on an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 17-7. The two teams then traded baskets again for the rest of the half with Kansas leading 30-26 going into the locker room.

"We've been really good out of the gate in back to back games," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We were glad to get into the locker with a lead. This league is good, and you have to be ready for every game."

During the second half, the Tigers had better luck on the offensive side, shooting 38.7 percent, though they only made 2-of-7 3-point shots. The Tigers cut into the Jayhawks' lead and eventually tied the game with 9:30 remaining when junior forward Shakara Jones hit two free throws to knot the game up at 44. Kansas then regained the lead, 46-44, when senior guard Sade Morris hit a field goal shortly afterward.

"It was hard to get an open look," Stein said. "Kansas' defense is very tough."

The Tigers tied the game again at 55 when senior forward Amanda Hanneman hit a 3-pointer with 4:06 remaining in the game. Missouri was unable to take the lead and a flurry of field goal attempts during the final 10 seconds of the game failed to connect.

During the game, the Tigers had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds, an effort that pleased Stein.

"It's a collective effort," Stein said. "I think our players work real hard. We don't care who's getting it done, just that it's getting done. But we need to continue to make shots. The key is we've got to have more execution on the offensive end."

The Tigers will next face Texas A&M on Feb. 3. Johnson said the team would go back to the gym and continue to work on shooting in order to prepare for the game.

"You get into the gym and shoot extra," Johnson said. "You keep believing in yourself and in your teammates."

Brown agreed with her teammate.

"I thought we played a great game," Brown said. "But we want to get back to the game, and we're going to focus on intensity on offense and defense."

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